LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A white police officer handcuffed a Black child outside his Michigan home in an “unfortunate case of ‘wrong place, wrong time,’” the Lansing Police Department said Friday.
The department posted the explanation on Facebook after cellphone video circulated on social media showing the officer leading the boy — whose hands are cuffed behind his back — through the parking lot of an apartment complex on Thursday. The officer had been searching for a suspect in a string of car thefts when he spotted the child.
The “kid” was “bringing out his trash to the Dumpster,” a voice said on the video.
A man who identified the boy as his son then approached the officer, who walked the child toward his father before another officer walked him to a patrol vehicle and put him in the rear seat.
The father pressed both hands to his own head and continued to speak with the first officer while pacing along a sidewalk. He later walked toward the person recording the video and said: “They traumatized my son.”
About three minutes into the video, an officer removed the handcuffs from the boy and spoke with him for about 30 seconds. The boy was then allowed to join his father on the sidewalk.
Officials wanted to “provide some background information on this unfortunate misunderstanding,” police said Friday.
A witness had described the suspect’s outfit before a person who matched the description ran from an officer into an apartment complex, police said. Another officer saw the child in “a very similar outfit,” stopped him and released him when the officer realized he was not the suspect, police said.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, police have launched an internal investigation after another video posted to social media appears to show one of their officers on July 20 punching a Black man the officer mistakenly thought was involved in a hit-and-run crash.
Police said witnesses told them two men and a woman carrying a child fled toward an Applebee’s restaurant. A restaurant employee directed officers toward a man holding a baby. Police then discovered the people responsible for the crash hiding in the restaurant’s bathroom.